Wednesday, March 30, 2011

ROS on Windows

Progress towards full windows support for ROS continues. Here are the install instructions and an official announcement. This achievement really shows how open source software can empower developers to support legacy products like Windows. Congrats to Daniel and everyone else who has contributed on getting things like roscore running, your efforts are appreciated.

[From: ros-users]

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Stock: Solder Sucker and more

We have some great new products that are currently being featured in the I Heart Engineering store.

Check out the video of this desoldering tool in action.

Now on sale for $32.95.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ROS Documentation Contest

Over at, I Heart Robotics is co-sponsoring a contest to encourage ROS Developers to document their code. More information is available here.

Friday, March 25, 2011

iCub Summer School Hackathon

If you are a robotics researcher who enjoys the finer things in life, like free software, open source hardware, humanoid robots and Italian beaches, you will definitely want to check out 'Veni Vidi Vici 2011', the iCub Summer School.

At the summer school / hackathon there will be two iCub robots on hand for researchers to work with, along with informal talks and hands-on lab sessions. Participants should be competent in programming in C/C++ and able to work as part of a team.

The school will run from July 18th to the 28th, and you need to apply by May 11th, 2011.
Registration is 1300 euros and includes the school, food and shared accommodations.

The official call for participants can be found here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

OpenRAVE IKFast Robot Database Released

Do you have a robot arm? If so you may want to look at OpenRAVE, with it's support for inverse kinematics, motion planning, grasp analysis, simulation and more.

With the new release, OpenRAVE now has COLLADA models for many of the most popular robot arms and a stated goal of supporting every robot arm.

The arm database along with a new test system should help insure that the ikfast solver generates the correct solution for every possible robot.

ROS integration should continue to improve through the OpenRAVE Planning stack which provides support for many of the standard planning and manipulation services. Inside the stack is a package orrosplanning which "contains cool planning bindings".

More information is available.

[From: ros-users]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thing-a-month: Wire Spool Holder

Things have been a little disorganized recently, so this months thing helps organize your wire. Just print the parts out and use a 5/8" wood rod or EMT tubing to provide a convenient storage system. Requires seven #8 x 0.25" screws.

The STL files are available from Thingiverse.

Friday, March 18, 2011

OctoMap 1.0

Version 1.0 of the OctoMap library has now been released and is available for download. The OctoMap team has not only released a new stable version of their octree based mapping library, but they have also documented it. OctoMap should also now compile for those of you working on OSX.

For those of you who are using ROS, there is a new release of the octomap_mapping stack with Debian packages on the way for cturtle, diamondback, and unstable. The octomap_ros package in the new version should help improve ROS & PCL integration.

OctoMap will be very useful if you are trying to figure out what to do with the data coming in from the Kinect on your robot.

[From: ros-users]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Playback: More Videos

Here is some more robot videos for you to watch while we finish up a few projects.

More info here.

A nice musical robot.

This robot is quite talkative.

An excellent sporting event.

Cat vs Cellbot

Friday, March 11, 2011

Playback: CAMShift

This looks pretty useful and quite robust.

More here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

IGVC Demo during NRW2011 in DC

During National Robotics Week, on April 9-11, 2011, the AUVSI Foundation will be hosting a college students from around the country at the National Mall in Washington, DC showing off some of the robots that will compete in the International Ground Vehicles Competition. More information about attending the demo is available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Debian Packages for Kinect Driver

 The task of getting a Kinect working with your robot just got easier with new Debian packages. Now would be a great time to install the new Diamondback release of ROS.

ROS Updates

And now the latest  in ROS related news.

Sensors supported by ROS
Exponential growth requires organization and documentation. The new Sensors portal help figureout how to get your sensors working with ROS.

Coroware adds ROS support to CoroBot and Explorer
It is great to see growing support for ROS from robotics companies. It's also great to see more mobile robotics companies.

ROS on MAVs with MAVLink
Now I'm just waiting for spring to arrive so I can crash my airplane.

National Robotics Week Robot Contest

National Robotics Week is still a month away, but in the mean time there is a NRW Robot Contest you have until Marth 20th to enter.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Playback: Flying Robots

Here is a selection of video's to help you pass the time.

AR.Drone + GoPro Camera

Formation Control using ground robots and AR.Drone from the cyberneticists at IMR. Děsivý!

Updates on QGroundControl

When batteries aren't enough there is always laser power.

Perhaps you are planning on a picnic this weekend. A quadrotor helicopter might be able to help carry the basket.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adafruit + RobotGrrl Team Up

I am very excited to see that Adafruit and RobotGrrl will be teaming up  to produce a weekly video about robotics. You can help out by suggesting a name for the robot here.

PIXHAWK Gumstix Camera

The PIXHAWK Camera for the Gumstix is finally a product! Just in time for the spring flying crashing season. For some reason, I'm thinking diamond shaped kite robots running ROS on a Gumstix.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ROS Diamondback Launch!!

It is time to start thinking about upgrading your robot, ROS Diamondback has just been released! In the coming weeks at I Heart Robotics we will be working through updating some of our older tutorials and packages.

In Stock: Cordless Soldering Iron and More

This month we have a great selection of new tools in stock at the I Heart Engineering store.

The SK-70 Kotelyzer Soldering Iron with Case is an amazing butane powered soldering iron with push button ignition that can operate for 2-4 hours on a single charge unlike battery powered irons. It is equivalent in performance to a 20-80W electric soldering iron with a maximum tip temperature of 500°C. If you have ever found yourself sitting in a field trying to fix a robot's blown power supply then you need this tool. It comes with a 1mm diameter needle tip and a hot air tip for field service of surface mount components and activation of heat shrink.

It comes with a heavy duty steel case to protect the iron from being damaged during transportation. If you are interested, the case itself is also available separately.

Inside the case is an adjustable stand, solder sponge and tip storage area.

The 3 position adjustable stand provides convenient storage of the iron while it is hot.

The TWM-08 adjustable wrench has super slim 2mm thick jaws that provide an ideal solution for tightening the nut on BNC or coaxial connectors. The short length also makes it useful for tightening thin nuts in confined spaces.

All these and more can be found in stock at the I Heart Engineering store.

ROS Updates

Catching up with other ROS related news from the past week.

ROS Diamondback Release Candidate 3 is now available for testing and is hopefully the final release candidate.

A simple way to use ROS with an Arduino.

While I am not sure if they are working on robot surfers yet, Surfologists from Pukas & Tecnalia are using ROS to develop a surfboard that is totally tubular and radical.

ROS for Windows via MinGW

Some great news for those of you who haven't had a chance to upgrade to *BSD or GNU/Linux.

While not yet complete ROS is now one step closer to working on Windows using the Minimal GNU compiler toolchain thanks to the work of Daniel Stonier and Yujin Robot.

If you are a windows user and have experience using MinGW or cross compiling there is a tutorial showing how to use Qt with ROS on windows up for people interested in testing and improving ROS support for Windows.

[From: ros-users]

3D Head Tracking tutorial

Patrick Goebel of PI Robot has put together an excellent tutorial on doing 3D head tracking with ROS. In Part 1 he covers configuring TFs, setting up the URDF model and configuration of Dynamixel AX-12+ servos for controlling the pan and tilt of a Kinect.

Besides more accurate depth estimation, one benefit of using a 3D sensor to perform head tracking is that it allows for the rejection of false positives by providing a means for the robot to distinguish between a person's head and a picture of a person's head.

You may also be interested in his previous tutorial on OpenCV Head Tracking.

[From: ros-users]

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Playback: This month in delta robots

Here are the delta robots for the month of February, enjoy.

Another look at an excellent 5DoF pick and place delta robot we covered previously now with OpenCV object detection. Hecho en México!

This looks like a good start for building a DIY delta robot. More info here.

Once you get your delta robot working, you need to calibrate it.

Meet the Yazzo PolyBot. Coming soon, self replicating delta robots.

I Wonder what the robots are cooking.